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Non Fiction Writing Resources

Non Fiction Writing Resources

Subject: English

Age range: 11-14

Resource type: Lesson (complete)


Last updated

16 August 2021

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Writing non-fiction

Whether you are teaching non-fiction or transactional text types, such as speeches, letters, leaflets, essays and articles, or looking at the features of an instructional or autobiographical text, you'll find a lesson idea or class activity to suit your learners' needs. 

Our writing for purpose and audience resources are grouped into different writing topics below. Browse these collections for inspiration and lesson planning ideas: 

Non-fiction writing topics

Popular non-fiction writing resources.

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Memorable Nonfiction Writing Activities for Secondary ELA

A photo of a student in a light green shirt writing with a yellow pencil. At the top there is a white border with pink and blue text that says "Nonfiction Writing Activities for Secondary ELA"

Nothing says nonfiction writing has to be boring , and yet, that’s what many middle school and high school students think. If you’re looking for nonfiction writing activities to engage this crowd, here are some great ideas.

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Nonfiction Writing Examples

Nonfiction writing examples are EVERYWHERE and part of showing students that this isn’t an umbrella term for “boring writing” is showing them engaging examples. 

In addition to AMAZING nonfiction texts like Radium Girls by Kate Moore and Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi (both available as young reader editions), you can show students exemplar blog posts, self help articles, and tourism brochures. The sky is truly the limit.

I’ve blogged before about my favorite nonfiction books for the ELA classroom. Here are 8 Nonfiction Excerpts Worth Teaching from a post over at the Secondary English Coffee Shop. You may also like this list of 21 Nonfiction Books for Secondary ELA .

Nonfiction Writing Lesson Plans

When you’re creating your nonfiction writing activities, it’s important to help students feel as creative and flexible as possible. Here are some tips for teaching nonfiction writing:

  • Consider ways to build classroom community using nonfiction writing. Here’s one idea for using procedural texts.
  • Include student choice: different formats, different lengths, different topics
  • Use peer review BEFORE the writing is “finished.” Here’s a blog post about effective peer feedback .

Nonfiction Writing Prompts for Middle and High School

  • Choose a talent or skill of yours and create a step-by-step for how to do it. If you love basketball, for example, you could share how to do one drill or play one speciality basketball game. Want this activity ready-made? Here it is!
  • Choose one trend and write a short explanation of how it started. Who originated the trend? What are some reasons it caught on? What do you think will happen to this trend in the future?
  • Do you have a strong conviction or opinion? Write a short essay in favor of the opposing viewpoint. Argue against yourself, basically.
  • List five places you want to visit and write a short blurb about each one. 
  • Share a scene from your life, but write it from another person’s perspective. What may they have felt that was different from your feelings? What may they have noticed that you didn’t? 

If you LOVE nonfiction, check out my best-selling resource, Abandoned Places . You can even download a free version of my Abandoned Places activity by signing up for my email list!

Final Thoughts

A photo of a woman in a white sweater holding a pink notebook and a yellow pencil in front of her face. There is a blue square in the top left corner of the photo with white text that says "Nonfiction writing activities for Secondary ELA

We can weave nonfiction writing activities throughout our year and help students find creativity and self-expression in this mode.

What are some of your strategies for teaching nonfiction writing? Comment below or reach out on IG @nouvelle_ELA .

Happy teaching!

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5 Powerful Tips for Teaching Social Justice in ELA

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Ela texts & resources for honoring native american heritage month, 3 free ela worksheets for middle and high school.

Nonfiction Pyramid

Nonfiction Pyramid

About this printout

After students read an article or other work of nonfiction, they can use the Nonfiction Pyramid to reflect on key ideas and details in the text. This printout has been reproduced from the following book: Ellery, V., & Rosenboom, J.L. (2011). Sustaining strategic readers: Techniques for supporting content literacy in grades 6-12. Newark, DE: International Reading Asssociation.

Teaching with this printout

More ideas to try, related resources.

Be sure students are familiar with the key nonfiction concepts implied by the Nonfiction Pyramid—main idea, supporting details, author’s purpose, and reader’s aids.  Then read a short article or book chapter together and use the Nonfiction Pyramid to reinforce those concepts and model how the printout helps you think of all the parts of the text and put them together .

  • The first line will contain one major idea of the article or text.
  • The second ask students to describe a supporting detail related to that first main idea.
  • On the third line, students use three words to offer another main idea.
  • On the fourth line, students develop that main idea with four supporting details.
  • Students then use five words to express the author’s purpose.
  • On the sixth line, students share six important vocabulary words important to the topic.
  • On next line, students share seven words related to important reader’s aids, such as headings, images, captions, charts, and graphs.

Students can use their pyramids to provide informal oral summaries of what they’ve read or as starting points for more extensive writing.

  • Once students understand how the Nonfiction Pyramid helps them reflect on key elements of an article or chapter, invite them to use the structure to plan writing of their own.
  • After using the Nonfiction Pyramid a few times, ask students to consider what elements are missing from the Pyramid that they might like to add.  Where would they go?
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Students conduct research and write original works of nonfiction on topics of their choice.

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